Summer is almost officially here and that means many families will be hitting the road for summer vacation. Before you leave, make sure your family is riding safely.

As a child safety advocate and certified car seat technician, I meet many families who think their children are riding safely, but they’re not. The most frequent mistake I see parents make is how they buckle their child in the car seat.

3 easy steps to ensure your child rides safer

This boy is in a forward-facing, convertible car seat. Notice the harness fits snug and is above his shoulders. The chest clip is placed at armpit level.

By following these three easy steps, you will help ensure your child is safe in a car seat:

1. Adjust the harness (shoulder straps) to the correct height for your child.

If your child rides rear-facing, the harness should be at or below the shoulder. Kids who face forward should have the harness at or above the shoulder.

2. Make sure the harness is snug enough — do the pinch test.

You should not be able to pinch any slack in the harness at the shoulder. Only one finger should fit snugly between the shoulder and the harness.

3. Place the chest clip at armpit level.

Need help with your car seat?

If you’re not sure your car seat is installed correctly or if you want to make sure your child is riding safely, visit us at our free car seat check event:

3 p.m. – 6 p.m. Thursday, June 20
Menomonee Falls Fire Department, Station 3
W140 N7501 Lilly Road, Menomonee Falls, Wis.

A certified car seat technician will check to make sure your seat is properly installed and that it’s the right seat for your child’s age and size. Can’t make it? Call (414) 607-5280 to schedule a free appointment at Children’s Hospital Booster and Car Seat Clinic.

– Lisa Klindt Simpson, coordinator, Safe Kids Southeast Wisconsin

Safe Kids Southeast Wisconsin is led by Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. The four-county coalition (Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington, Waukesha) works to prevent accidental injuries, the leading cause of death among children age 14 and younger. The coalition combines the expertise of community agencies and individuals to prevent childhood injuries through collaboration, education, policy and advocacy initiatives.

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